Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

(Romans 11:29-36; Luke 14:12-14)

A religious education program conducted its classes prior to Halloween every year in the parish cemetery. When daylight ebbed, the children grew skittish and ran back to the cemetery entrance where they might feel the security of numbers. The experience provided a spark in the religious ed curriculum but was actually a missed opportunity. Rather than provide a lesson on eternal life, the organizers of the event only added a thrill in an overheated season of excitement. Today is a teachable moment when a walk through a cemetery may reveal God's goodness to people accustomed to taking it for granted.

Humans are created with souls united to bodies as intimately as words and music make up a song. Death separates the two bringing the body to decay and the incorruptible soul (or spirit if you wish) to carry on alone. But there are few historical records of mischief-making spirit-sightings. More likely spirits yearn for bodily reunion perhaps like we feel when we have a tune in our head but have forgotten the words that match it.

Here we see the unsearchable ways of God that St. Paul refers to in the first reading. The souls of the saved are destined to be reunited with their bodies at the end of time just as Jesus' body and soul came together in his resurrection with the result of actual sightings. It promises to be even more glorious than the finale of Beethoven's Choral Symphony where words and music are joined to God’s eternal glory.